Questions arise over emails found ahead of town council’s final decision on Weddington development

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — The Weddington town council is set to make a final decision on whether to build an 80-acre development, after months of debate.

The vote on Monday is for the Weddington Green Development that would bring homes, a park, and a biking trail along Providence and Weddington-Matthews Road.

The debate has been going on for months. Opponents of the development say there isn’t room in Weddington.

In the past few months, Channel 9 has seen packed meetings and heard concerns from neighbors about traffic, school overcrowding, and the potential for crime that could come with the new development.

The town of Weddington is covered with yard signs showing people’s opposition.

Neighbors said that above all, they don’t want to see Weddington relax zoning laws that require every home to be on one acre of land.

One of the groups against the project said it has uncovered emails between city leaders about the project, and believes they show a lack of transparency with the timeline that was presented to the public.

Weddington resident Mark Miller said those emails have added a new level of concern over the project.

“Our suspicions unfortunately are being proven by these records requests and looking at the email,” said Miller.

In one of the emails, developer Tom Waters, with Provident Land, details how the mayor and a council member told him to use the phrase “attached single family homes” rather than “townhouse” and gave direction on other language to use to get the project approved.

In another email from July 2021, the town planner tells Waters he will have a better chance of approval after a new council is elected.

Another email from the developer shows he met with the mayor last October, contradicting what leaders have publicly said in the past.

“The mayor and council said they didn’t know anything about the project . Now we can clearly see from all of the emails that he has been working and talking to the developer even prior to his election,” said Miller.

Mayor Craig Horn emailed Channel 9′s Genevieve Curtis on Friday saying he did meet with the developer, but he had forgotten about it.

“As a private citizen then, and as an elected official now, I have always afforded anyone that asks the opportunity to meet and discuss whatever is on their mind. I do not and never have had any relationship with this or any other developer,” said Horn.

Neighbors told Curtis they have filed complaints with federal and state agencies about the project.

Town administrators told Curtis they would answer her questions on Monday about the staff appearing to coach the developer in those emails.

Provident Land’s president Tom Waters responded to those allegations saying:

“In no way has anything been done inappropriately or unethically. In fact, we always spend a great deal of time with all of the staff members, elected officials, and planning board members, as well as having community input meetings, to gain any and all insights to present a quality vision for a project. As developers, this is the process we have followed for over thirty years as we endeavor to include as much input as possible to make a community vision the best it can be. We have been working on Weddington Green for almost two years now, an unusually long time, due to the pandemic and sewer issues. We look forward to presenting the revised plan again on Monday afternoon and evening. "

Provident Land has scaled back on the project several times after backlash, but said the project could add a lot of value to the community, with retail and community space.

The community meeting on Monday starts with a two-hour question and answer session before the council votes.

The meeting will be at Weddington High School to accommodate the large crowd expected to attend.

PAST COVERAGE:

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